Despite an erratic stretch run, Gerald A. Nielsen's Along Came Mary won the $82,550 Montauk Handicap by 2 1/2 lengths on a cold Sunday afternoon at Aqueduct. Critical Eye, a New York-bred 5-year-old mare, needed to finish in the top three to break the $1 million barrier. She finished fourth to improve her career earnings to $996,544. Along Came Mary followed the rail around both turns of the 1 1/8-mile handicap for older New York-bred fillies and mares. In midstretch, she drifted several paths off the rail under the left-handed whip of jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. Second-place Princess Dixie altered her path under Shaun Bridgmohan, but the Board of Stewards determined there was no cause for disqualification. Along Came Mary, who is trained by H. James Bond, crossed the finish line a winning time of 1:52 1/5 over the fast main track. Along Came Mary settled off the pace - :24 1/5, :48 4/5 and 1:13 3/5 – set by Textbook Method. "We had a great trip behind the speed," Arroyo said. "We were able to find some room along the rail and she just exploded. I was pretty much a passenger today. She was real impressive."Along Came Mary, a 4-year-old filly by Citidancer, improved her career record to 6-1-2 from 14 starts with earnings of $241,720. Critical Eye, who was running against statebreds for the first time since October 2000, mounted her usual stretch run for owner-breeder Herbert Schwartz and his son, trainer Scott Schwartz. She was just a nose behind third-place finisher Textbook Method. The fourth-place finish was worth $4,953.
Scott Schwartz said, "I don't think she has too much of an excuse today. I don't know what we'll do with her."'ll have to check her out after the race."(Chart, Equibase)